Navigating Boat Buying: The Do's And Don'ts For Smooth Sailing

July 13, 2023

Mother and daughter steering a boat

The allure of owning a boat and embarking on adventures on the open water is hard to deny. But when you’re ready to set sail on your boat-buying journey, it’s important to tread carefully and navigate the financial aspects wisely. To help, we’re exploring the dos and don’ts of buying a boat to ensure first-time buyers don’t find themselves in unchartered waters along the way.

The Do’s:

1. Determine Your Budget: Before you even start shopping, carefully evaluate your finances to establish a realistic budget. Consider not only the purchase price but also ongoing expenses like maintenance, fuel, storage, insurance and docking fees.

2. Do Your Homework: Research different boat types, sizes and models. Attend boat shows, consult with experienced boaters, and read reviews to find the best boat for you.

3. Inspect The Boat: Just like buying a car, a thorough inspection is essential. Hire a professional marine surveyor to assess the boat’s condition, structure and mechanical components to uncover any existing or potential issues.

4. Consider Financing Options: Almost all boat buyers will require financial assistance, and boat loans are a popular choice. Talk to a knowledgeable loan officer at BayFirst about the best financing options for you. We’ll guide you through the loan process, helping you understand rates, terms, and repayment options. 

5. Get Insurance: Protect your investment by obtaining boat insurance. It will safeguard you against accidents, damage, theft and liability. 

6. Consider Resale Value. While buying a boat based on its features or appearance is important, do not forget to consider the boat’s resale value. Some hold their value better than others and can be a better investment if you decide to sell it in the future.

7. Negotiate The Price. Like buying a car, you can negotiate the price of a boat. Do your research to determine fair market value and be ready to negotiate with the seller. If you want a solid upper hand in the deal, get pre-approved first.

The Don’ts:

1. Don’t Rush: Buying a boat is exciting, but you should avoid making impulsive decisions. Take your time, weigh your options and consider multiple boats before signing on the dotted line.

2. Don’t Overlook Ownership Costs: Owning a boat involves many more expenses than the initial purchase. Factor in costs associated with maintenance, storage, fuel, insurance and registration to avoid financial strain.

3. Don’t Forget About Financing Terms: When applying for a boat loan, be cautious about the terms and conditions. Make sure you fully understand your interest rate, loan duration, and potential penalties for early repayment. An expert from BayFirst can help.

4. Don’t Neglect A Sea Trial: Inspections alone may not reveal everything about a boat’s performance. Set up a sea trial to test how the boat handles and ensure it meets your expectations in terms of maneuverability, speed and overall comfort.

5. Don’t Skip Boat Safety Education: Boating requires knowledge of safety procedures and regulations. Familiarize yourself with boating rules, navigation guidelines, and emergency protocols by enrolling in a boating safety course before becoming an owner.

How Do Boat Loans Work?

At BayFirst, we offer boat loans designed to make your dream of boat ownership a reality. Boat loans are typically installment loans with fixed interest rates and repayment terms. Here’s an overview of the process:

1. Apply: Submit a loan application along with the required financial documents, such as income verification, credit history and personal identification.

2. Get Approved: Our loan officers will review your application, assess your creditworthiness, and determine the loan amount and terms suitable for you.

3. Set Loan Terms: Once approved, you’ll receive a loan offer outlining the interest rate, loan duration, and monthly payment amount. Review the terms carefully before accepting the offer.

4. Make A Down Payment: Depending on the loan, you may be required to make a down payment, typically ranging from 10% to 20% of the boat’s purchase price. However, qualified buyers can currently take advantage of a boat loan with no down payment through BayFirst.*

5. Close The Loan: After accepting the loan offer, finalize the paperwork, and complete the loan closing process. Funds will then be disbursed.

6. Repay Your Loan: Make timely monthly payments over the loan duration. Consider setting up automatic payments for convenience and to avoid late fees.

Buying a boat can be almost as fun as owning one, but it’s essential to approach it with financial prudence. Need more tips for navigating the boat-buying process? Give us a call or stop in. Our team is here to be your first mate. Bon voyage!

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BayFirst NMLS#806183. All loans subject to approval, including credit approval. Income, credit and property restrictions may apply. Other programs available. Programs subject to change or termination without notice. BayFirst National Bank is not affiliated with the Federal Housing Administration, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, or any other government agency.

*No down payment available for qualified buyers.



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